Wes Craven was a man who managed to re-invent the horror genre at least three times during his entire career. Craven was a man who helped define a lot of the modern tropes we take for granted, and yes, even brought the nineties out of the drudges with his jolt of adrenaline known as “Scream.” However, sometimes Craven’s efforts didn’t always click, and while he had a knack for fascinating characters and complex situations, “Deadly Friend” is one of his more notable genre misfires.
15 year old science whiz Paul Conway just moved to a new town with his mother, and his yellow robot named BB, which is his friend and protector. Paul befriends the girl next door named Samantha, who lives with her abusive father who nearly murders her in a fit of anger. Grief stricken, Paul takes Samantha’s body from the hospital to his local university, hoping to restore her. In an attempt to save her life, he implants BB’s robot microchips into her brain, but discovers not too long after that she is out of control, and goes on a murderous rampage.
“Deadly Friend” has amassed a pretty loyal following since its release, and revival on DVD but (even as one who loved it as a child) I find the movie almost impossible to watch now. “Deadly Friend” is painfully unfocused and genre confused, dabbling in revenge horror, a classic Frankenstein tale, a fractured romance, Teen drama, and a robot on a rampage thriller. When it tumbles, it falls head first in to silliness and camp, throwing out the playbook by the second half and just trying to make it to the closing credits. Which is not to say it is Craven’s worst.
He just drifts back and forth between teen horror romance, and goofy monster movie, and they both basically fail. For the most part, Kristy Swanson is great as the dreamy girl next door with a tragic fate. She really is good in the role and gorgeous, too. It’s just a shame that the movie is more known for small redeeming elements rather than the whole. Everyone remembers Swanson, the robot BB, and the infamous basketball head explosion. Everything else falls to the wayside, as a goofy Craven vehicle.
The Collector’s Edition features Hey Sam, Nice Shot – An Interview with Actress Kristy Swanson, an all-new nine minutes interview with the actor Kristy Swanson. She discusses how she got the part, the script by Bruce Joel Rubin, changes in the production and more. Written In Blood – An Interview With Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin is an all-new eight minutes interview with screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin who discusses being offered the screen adaptation and the how he decided to do the adaptation that he initially turned down, working with Wes Craven, the original adaptation, and the test screening.
Robots, Ramsey And Revenge – An Interview With Special Makeup Effects Artist Lance Anderson is an all-new five minutes interview with Special Makeup Effect Artist Lance Anderson, who discusses how the final makeup appliance worked, his lack of work on the BB robot, working with Anne Ramsey, creating a life cast of her, and more.. Samantha’s Symphony – An Interview With Composer Charles Bernstein is an all-new eight minutes interview with composer Charles Bernstein, who discusses meeting and working Craven, how he worked with both orchestra and digital, and more. There’s the original Theatrical Trailers with one English language, two Spanish, and one German. Finally there are five original TV Spots, included.